Viola Davis Delivers Powerful Oscar 2017 Acceptance Speech
Viola Davis is a 2017 Oscar Winner Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance alongside Denzel Washington in FENCES. This is Davis's first Oscar win, although she was previously nominated for THE HELP (Actress in a Leading Role) and DOUBT (Actress in a Supporting Role). Her role in FENCES has also earned multiple awards including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In a Motion Picture.
After thanking The Academy for her award, Davis delivered an emotional Oscar speech which resulted in a teary eyed audience. Oscars 2017 host Jimmy Kimmel joked, "Viola Davis, she just got nominated for an Emmy for that speech - it was so good." Read the full transcript below:
"Thank you to the Academy. You know, there's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that's the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
So, here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people. And to Bron Pictures, Paramount, Macro, Todd Black, Molly Allen for being the cheerleaders for a movie that is about people. And words. And life and forgiveness and grace. And to Michael T. Williamson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, for being the most wonderful artists I've ever worked with.
And oh captain, my captain, Denzel Washington.
Thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat: August and God. And they served you well. And to Dan and Mary Alice Davis, who were and are the center of my universe, the people who taught me good or bad, how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, how to lose. My parents―I'm so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world. To my sisters, my sister Dolores, we were rich white women in the tea party games. Thank you for the imagination. And to my husband and my daughter. My heart, you and Genesis. You teach me every day how to live, how to love, I'm so glad that you are the foundation of my life. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you."
In FENCES, Viola Davis portrays Rose Maxson, a devoted wife and mother who tries to champion her son's ambitions against her husband's sometimes savage derision. This is the third Academy Award nomination for Viola Davis. THE HELP (Actress in a Leading Role) and DOUBT (Actress in a Supporting Role).